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Scott Maddox, Paige Carter-Smith sentenced to prison in city corruption case

Maddox sentenced to 5 years, Carter-Smith sentenced to 2 years in prison
MADDOX AND  SMITH.jfif
Posted at 4:32 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 16:32:39-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A federal judge has sentenced former Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox and political consultant Paige Carter-Smith for their roles in the corruption in Tallahassee City Hall.

Maddox was sentenced to five years in prison. Carter-Smith was sentenced to two years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said both Maddox and Carter-Smith were entitled to a sentence below federal guidelines.

In September 2020, the duo was set to be sentenced on Feb. 22, but the judge agreed to an unopposed request from their lawyers to push the sentencing date back again.

In December of 2018, Maddox and Carter-Smith were indicted on 44 counts in an FBI investigation into corruption at Tallahassee City Hall.

Maddox and his long-time associate, Carter-Smith, plead guilty in the FBI corruption case in August 2019.

As part of the plea agreement, the pair both pleaded guilty to two counts of honest service fraud and conspiracy to commit tax fraud. The other 39 charges were dropped as part of the plea deal.

Meanwhile, the other defendant, J.T. Burnette, was found guilty of extortion, honest services mail fraud, Travel Act, and lying to the FBI after a federal jury trial in August 2021.

BACKGROUND

Corruption at city hall, it's the scandal the FBI released on Feb. 5, 2018.

That's when Scott Maddox, who was serving as a Tallahassee City Commissioner and Paige Carter-Smith, who was serving as the Downtown Improvement Authority Director, was named in search warrant affidavits.

Those documents say through a consulting company named Governance, they were paid to vote in favor of various groups lobbying to move into Tallahassee.
Maddox called the claims untrue a week later.

In December of that year, federal prosecutors found enough to charge him with 44 counts including bribery, extortion, bank fraud, and racketeering.
Just one day later, Former Governor Rick Scott suspended Maddox. Carter Smith stepped down from her role as well.

Not done with the players at hand, prosecutors indicted Tallahassee businessman J.T. Burnette on May 9, 2019.

In August of that year, Maddox and Carter Smith entered guilty pleas. The plea agreement only dealt with three charges: two for extortion and one for tax fraud. Thirty-nine of the charges were dropped because of that plea deal.

That same day, the US Attorney's Office launched a new statewide division made up of the US Attorney's Office, FBI agents, the IRS, and the Department of Justice to crack down on any form of corruption in government.